According to the latest Eurostat figures Ireland is the largest producer of waste plastic packaging in Europe – 61kg per person per year for every man, woman and child in the country. Making every day decisions that impact the amount of waste we generate and how we manage that waste is very important.
One sure way to improve things is to actively recycle. Recycling reduces the volume of waste sent to landfill and plays an important part in preserving the quality of the environment.
Top Tips for Recycling and Managing Your Waste
- Settle on what plastics you must have: You might decide that this is just milk containers if you don’t have access to one of the few Irish dairies who do milk in bottles.
- Keep it Clean & Dry: As a result of one contaminated item in your recycling bin, such as dirty cardboard, cartons and paper, a whole truckload of otherwise perfectly recyclable items being sent for disposal will be contaminated. It is estimated that 30% of recycling bins collected are contaminated. So remember to always wash items before putting them into your recycling bin!
- Shredded Paper: While paper is often recyclable, shredded paper can be a major problem for recycling services as it can be challenging to sort. Did you know that shredded newspaper has multiple uses around the home and garden including kindling for a wood stove, bedding for pets, kitty litter or garden mulch?
- Paper carriers: The paper carrier bag with handles gets stuck in the machines at the recycling facilities. Bring your own handy carrier on shopping trips and stop asking for the paper ones in store.
- Paper: Did you know that each tonne of recycled paper can save up to 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 7,000 gallons of water, and 4,000 kilowatts of energy?
- Reusable bottles and mugs: Did you know that 2.5 billion coffee cups are used and thrown away each year in the UK, that is enough cups to stretch around the world roughly five and a half times but less than 1 in 400 are recycled. You can help reduce these figures by drinking your morning tea or coffee in a reusable mug or your afternoon water in a reusable bottle.
- Prevention is better than cure: Think about buying loose items such as fruit and veg instead of packaged items and reducing the amount you need to recycle.
- Compact the rubbish: Crush, squish, stomp on, tear up and make smaller anything you can to fit more into your recycling bin – the more space you save, the more recycling you can fit in. Did you know that if you can scrunch up a piece of plastic in your hand (cling film, light wrap) it should not go in the recycling bin?
- Plastic straws: In the US alone 500 million plastic straws are used every day and in the UK 8.5 billion straws are used every year, it would be reasonable to say every straw ever made is still in existence in 2018. If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass straw.
- Use a reusable shopping bag: Shoppers worldwide are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year. To put this into context this is estimated at a million bags every minute across the globe, or 150 bags a year for every person on earth. Help reduce this figure by purchasing or making your own reusable shopping bag and cut down on the amount of plastic bags you buy.
- Buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic. Buy larger volumes of dry goods in boxes – Rice, cereals and other goods are normally far better value in larger boxes.
- Did you know that recycling one aluminium can provide enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours or the equivalent of half a gallon of gasoline?
All the trends are pointing towards 2018 being a big year for positive changes in the household. Sustainability is no longer a niche topic but not everyone knows where to start or how they can play their part.
This is where we want to help. With a team of experts we have identified projects that everyone can put in to action in their home.
We will be partnering with families across Ireland where we work with them, side by side, to take on projects that will bring about a positive and lasting change both in their home and their wider community.
Watch this space for regular updates from the families and learn about their experiences through the small changes they are making.
Find out more at https://www.aesirl.ie/home/what-goes-in-my-bin/recycle-bin/
Our Recycling and Waste family will be working alongside our experts to make changes in how they recycle and manage their waste. You too can try these tasks and see the difference they make.
- Task 1. Use the Correct Bin – Put 3 bins (General waste, recycling and organic) in kitchen/utility room to segregate and encourage family members to use each bin properly. Having done this start reading labels to ensure the proper bin is used. All recycling needs to be washed before going in the bin to avoid contamination.
- Task 2. Bin Knowledge/Education – Task family members with only recycling the correct materials and report back on items they presumed could be recycled but in fact can’t be – i.e. greasy pizza boxes should be put into the organic bin, once used, they can’t be recycled.
- Task 3. Reduce packaging – Now familiar with what can be recycled and composted, task the family with buying items with less packaging and check to see if supermarkets are making this transition doable or not. See if family members are making more of an effort to buy products with less packaging – loose fruit and veg etc.
Let us know how you’re getting on. Find out how our families are getting on too and get involved with a growing community on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BordnaMonaIreland/